Library of Congress director of communications Matt Raymond announced on the Library of Congress Blog that every single public Tweet sent since Twitter’s origin in March 2006 will be archived digitally.
Highlights from Raymond’s post:
Have you ever sent out a “Tweet” on the popular Twitter social-media service? Congratulations: Your 140 characters or less will now be housed in the Library of Congress.
That’s right. Every public tweet, ever, since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress. That’s a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions.
We thought it fitting to give the initial heads-up to the Twitter community itself via our own feed, @librarycongress. (By the way, out of sheer coincidence, the announcement comes on the same day our own number of feed-followers has surpassed 50,000. I love serendipity!)
So if you think the Library of Congress is “just books,” think of this: The Library has been collecting materials from the Web since it began harvesting congressional and presidential campaign Web sites in 2000. Today, we hold more than 167 terabytes of Web-based information, including legal blogs, Web sites of candidates for national office, and Web sites of Members of Congress.
We also operate the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, which is pursuing a national strategy to collect, preserve, and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations.
In other words, if you’re looking for a place where important historical and other information in digital form should be preserved for the long haul, we’re it!
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone later added in a post on the Twitter Blog:
It is our pleasure to donate access to the entire archive of public Tweets to the Library of Congress for preservation and research. It’s very exciting that Tweets are becoming part of history. It should be noted that there are some specifics regarding this arrangement. Only after a six-month delay can the Tweets be used for internal library use, for noncommercial research, public display by the library itself, and preservation.